Splitting four games at the Steve Boras Invitational placed Oak Ridge 11th in the tournament, but Trojan coach Todd Melton hopes the team’s two losses have a far greater effect than a disappointing finish in a non-league tournament.
The losses, Melton hopes, will help push his team to improve their play.
“We’ve just got to get better,” Melton said after the team’s 8-5 loss to Del Oro Wednesday. “We can play and we’ve got talent, but we have to bring our ‘A’ game. In our losses to Dougherty Valley and Del Oro, we threw some young pitchers and they were too tentative. They were worried about what might happen instead of going out and making things happen.”
Ryan Sullivan, Tanner Ales and Brogan Cooper threw against Dougherty Valley, while Connor Davis and Austin Vail joined Ales and Cooper on the mound against Del Oro. Melton said the losses might turn out to be a good thing for the team.
“We got humbled and learned some things,” Melton said. “We were ranked second for awhile and I don’t think we were ready for that yet -- maybe at the end of the season, but not right now. We’re going to see what we’re made out of.”
If nothing else, the early returns to the losses were good, as Oak Ridge followed both losses with wins. In the nightcap on March 26, Oak Ridge defeated Castro Valley 9-1 in a sloppy game in which the teams combined to make nine errors.
Mickey Meinhofer had a strong game for Oak Ridge with two hits, three runs scored and a RBI. Ales and Chris Roppolo each had two hits with Ales driving in a run and Roppolo scoring twice. Logan Marston, Alec deWatteville and Sullivan also knocked in runs in the win.
The Trojans wrapped up the tournament with a 4-1 win over Rodriguez Thursday. Austin Root pitched a complete game, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out five. Oak Ridge had seven hits in the game, two by Ross Dwelley, whose solo home run in the fourth inning gave the Trojans a little breathing room at 3-1.
Meinhofer and FP Santangelo also had hits and RBIs in the game. Marston drove in a run, while de Watteville, Ales and John Rico added hits.
Despite the team’s recent losses, Dwelley has good thoughts about this year’s team.
“We’re playing well together and have good camaraderie,” Dwelley said. “We ran into some trouble there against some good pitching, but we came back well. We’re confident for league.”
Melton was pleased to end the tournament on a high note.
“It feels good to end with a win,” Melton said. “I’m giving them the rest of spring break off. We need to get away and take a break. These tournaments are a grind.”
The Trojans are 6-3 heading into their home game against Granite Bay Thursday.
“We’ve got to get ready for Jesuit,” said Melton, whose team opens Delta River League play at home against the Marauders on Monday.